It was a move criticized by many – the shutdown of a Canadian Coast Guard base in Vancouver in 2013 by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his then-Conservative government.
The station, however, will re-open on Sunday.
There won’t be an official announcement, public open house, or ribbon cutting of any kind though, as Canadian Coast Guard spokesperson Dan Bate calls the re-opening of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base a soft launch.
Bate says three vessels will be stationed, along with a small crew.
But NDP coast Guard Critic Fin Donnelly says the lack of information from the government is concerning.
He wonders if the station will ever be restored to its original state.
“The question remains what is the state of the base going to be, how many vessels, what kind of staffing levels will be there, is it going to be 24/7 as we head into summer months?”
Donnelly says the government needs to be more open about the long-term plan.
“That’s the concern, if nobody has explained what Stage One is. When we questioned the Minister, they didn’t explain staging. When we talked to the commissioner, she just said it would be open 24/7, fully staffed with equipment and we said when.”
Bate says a full launch will take place sometime in June.
Questions remain over capacity and capability of re-opened station
People involved say there’s still plenty of questions.
Bill Tieleman, who represents the Canadian Coast Guard workers (Union of Canadian Transportation Employees) who are going back to the job, says it won’t be running 24/7 like it was before.
“Our understanding is that the Kitsilano Coast Guard will have a couple of zodiac boats; one covered, the other uncovered. Crews will be working an eight hour shift with eight hours on the base. Then crews are on call for 16 hours, so we will not have 24/7, 365 days a year coverage.”
Tieleman says until the Kitsilano base is completely renovated and retrofitted, there won’t be 24/7 rescue capability.